Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Becky Albertalli
Release: April 7, 2015
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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

It took me far too long to read this book but I was the human personification of the heart-eyes emoji by the time I was done. This was absolutely adorable and perfect! I loved that it was diverse and so positive. It's kind of like a YA You've Got Mail but without the whole enemies to lovers subplot. The only problem I had with it was that it ended. I just want more Simon and Blue goodness! And maybe an oreo milkshake.

I wasn't planning to read the whole thing so quickly but once I started I just couldn’t stop. And I can't begin to explain how happy I am that I read this book. It's one of those books that will make an impact on your heart and change your way of thinking. What I loved most about it was that the book was lighthearted while making that impact. Essentially the story is about a teenager that hangs out with his friends, has a crush on someone, and rehearses for the school musical. But it is also a deeply emotional book about a teenage boy and his struggle to remain himself without being stereotyped as the gay guy or having it be his whole identity.

The story follows Simon throughout his year of coming out and finding love – two things he wasn’t really planning on doing anytime soon. Through a post on the school Tumblr page, Simon finds this guy who goes by the pseudonym, Blue, who happens to be gay and not out like him. They start to talk via email without having any idea about the other person’s identity. They start to grow closer and start sharing details of their lives that they haven't shared with anyone else. They’re so adorable and they have such sweet and hilarious conversations that I couldn't help but grin like a madman the whole time I was reading.

Simon was such a lovable guy and so insightful already at his age about what he wanted and how he felt about himself. He was confident and comfortable in his own skin most of the time. Of course, he had low and high points throughout the book but how everything felt real. I can't stress enough about how well-written this book was.

He also had some amazing friends and family surrounding him. Simon's family was everything! I loved their interactions with each other. One of the things I loved about this book was how positive and supportive both Simon and Blue's families were. The Spiers have totally made my list of favorite fictional families. I about died laughing when they were doing the Facebook Scavenger Hunt. I also loved Simon's friend group. It was large and diverse and wasn't the same old cliche we see in some YA books. Each character was well fleshed out and had their own diverse personalities. It was so refreshing not to see the same old nerd vs jock storyline we see all the time. I loved seeing the anime kids, theater geeks, cheerleaders, and soccer players sitting at one table and being friends. It was more reminiscent of how my high school was than any other YA I've read in recent years. Since most of the characters are high school age, there was some drama and a few fights but everything was worked out in the end.

I seriously loved the romance in this book! Watching Simon and Blue fall in love via email was absolutely adorable! I kept trying to figure out who Blue was the whole time and I was right! From the first line, they interacted I hoped he would be Blue and I was so glad when he actually was because I didn’t want it to be anyone else. I kind of squealed when his identity was revealed and my ship was confirmed!

I came out of this reading experience with a new favorite book, a go-to Pride rec, and a persistent craving for an Oreo milkshake that did not go away until I finally got one. PSA: You'll want to have Oreos or Reese's handy while reading this because Simon's sweet tooth will get you craving all the things. I really can’t recommend this book enough. I've already started buying copies to give to friends so they can read it before the movie (which I am 100% here for!) comes out. I loved this book so much! I can't wait to read the other book Becky Albertalli has written. She has become one of my auto-buy authors after just one book.

  5 / 5 Stars!!!

Recommended for fans of:
How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J.C. Lillis
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Release by Patrick Ness
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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